Steinhoff announces dividend freeze, creditor waiver proposals

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Cape Town - Steinhoff on Friday announced that it would be halting dividend payments and approaching some of its creditors for waivers, as it seeks to hold onto its money. 

“[Steinhoff] will shortly be recommending that certain of its financial creditors support the group by providing limited waivers under certain of the group’s existing European holding companies’ financing arrangements,” it said in an update to shareholders. 

The Stellenbosch-headquartered retail giant, which has been under the cloud of an accounting scandal since December 5 last year, did not say which financial institutions it would be approaching.

It would be taking the proposals to its creditors "in the coming weeks". 

“The key elements of the waiver proposals will be to seek a waiver of any possible defaults (including any related certification requirements) in respect of the matters referred to in the public announcements of the company to date since 5 December 2017.

“[These include], in particular, matters associated with the postponement of the publication of the company’s consolidated financial statements for the year ending 30 September 2017 and the restatement of any prior year accounts.”

Steinhoff has said it will be only be able to publish its 2017 financial statements once forensic auditors PwC have completed their independent report into the group. 

When its top leadership briefed Parliament this week, they said they could not yet give a date for the completion of PwC's investigation.

Steinhoff also said that, as part of its waiver proposals, it was “likely to voluntarily agree” to halt dividend payments for a period to 30 June 2018, as well as most acquisitions. 

The international retailer's shares were trading at R6.54 on the JSE at 15:45, down 3.1% on the day. 


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